NEW YORK (AP) — Retired NBA star Jayson Williams was freed from jail Friday after serving eight months for drunken driving in New York and 18 months before that in New Jersey on charges stemming from a limo driver's shooting death.
"I am eager to see my daughters, my mother and siblings and make amends for what they've been through, the former New Jersey Nets star said through his manager. "Start my life over with God being first and in the center of everything I do."
Williams drove his SUV into a tree in lower Manhattan in 2010, a week after he accepted a plea deal stemming from the 2002 shotgun death of a chauffeur in his New Jersey mansion. His manager and attorneys have said he has since attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, gone through counseling and taught Bible study.
Williams had a six-year, $86 million contract with the Nets before a leg injury forced him to retire in 2000. Two years after he left the sport, he killed driver Costas Christofi with a 12-gauge shotgun while showing it to friends, having failed to check the weapon's safety mechanism before snapping the gun closed.
Williams then wiped down the weapon and placed it in the chauffeur's hands, stripped off his own clothes, handed them to a friend and jumped into his pool, according to testimony. Williams' lawyers maintained that the shooting was an accident and that his actions were driven by panic.
The shooting marked the start of a cascade of troubles for Williams, who was promptly suspended from his post-basketball job as an NBA analyst for NBC.